Months early and a century behind: Why we know so little about preterm births

Months early and a century behind: Why we know so little about preterm births

WGBH, October 17, 2021

One in 10 babies is born preterm; that is, more than three weeks before the baby’s due date. And, despite the anguish hundreds of thousands of families go through each year—and the billions of dollars it takes to care for the children—little is known about what causes premature births or how to prevent them. “Every time I’m asked by a patient, ‘why did this happen?’ My answer is typically, ‘we don’t know.’ And I’m tired of having to answer, ‘we don’t know,’” said Dr. George Saade, the chief of obstetrics at UTMB and the former president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the professional organization for obstetricians who specialize in high-risk pregnancies.